Civil War Days observed this weekend in Grove
This weekend, Lawtonians can observe blacksmiths forge steel, listen to stories of 1860s re-enactors and feast on prime rib at the annual Civil War Days at the Har-Ber Village Museum in Grove.
The two-day event will showcase an Army field hospital, a Federal Army Corps of Engineers survey demonstration and a military weapons display from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Visitors also may observe musket drills, the firing of a cannon and various civilian life arts, including hearth cooking, weaving, quilting, leather working, broom making, flax spinning, banjo making, cane carving and tintype creating.
The Holmes Brigade Minstrels will present a concert on Saturday night, as well as play music during the day on both days.
At 10 a.m. Sunday, visitors may attend an interdenominational church service, led by a re-enactor, in the Picnic Pavilion.
Amelia Chamberlain, the executive director of Har-Ber Village Museum, said the goal of the event is to provide people with an opportunity to explore the nation's past in meaningful ways.
"We want our visitors to leave with a better understanding of Civil War history, to hear the perspectives of a variety of re-enactors and perhaps learn some facts about history that they might not have learned at school," Chamberlain said.
The re-enactor groups represent three different regiments: 22nd Arkansas, 77th Pennsylvania and 4th Missouri.
"Re-enactors are living historians - who dress up. They pretend to be a Civil War person," she said.
Visitors should bring lots of questions to ask the re-enactors, who have been studying history for years and who will break character in order to answer specific questions, Chamberlain said.
Some of the questions people have asked are, "How do you do different tasks, how do you get enough to eat and what are some of the problems you faced as a soldier on the battlefield?"
Chamberlain believes the most effective way to learn history is to experience it at events such as Civil War Days.
"History isn't just dates and facts. History is our story, how we came to be (and) why we came to be. All the stories of the past combine to make us who we are," she said. "Learning about history in a format such as this is much more enjoyable than reading books or hearing lectures because it's being experienced first hand."